Representatives of the United Nations Association of the USA, San Diego Chapter delivered speeches on April 8th and 12th, respectively, during the 61st Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva to condemn the Chinese Government's severe human rights violations. The speeches particularly focused on human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners and pointed out, "The violent persecution against tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners has gone on for five years...The PRC's outrageous treatment of children of Falun Gong practitioners is a particularly shocking example."
The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) was established in 1946 and is comprised of organisations from over 100 member states of the UN. The network enables people to connect with each other on critical global issues affecting us all, from peace and human rights to the spread of democracy, equitable development and international justice. UNA-San Diego chapter is a sub-organisation of the non-governmental organisation WFUNA.
UNA-San Diego reiterates its support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and protests the continued violation of the UDHR by the People's Republic of China on a scale unequaled anywhere in the world. While we note the recent release of Rebiya Kadeer by the PRC, it is not enough. Just as releasing one or one thousand Jews from the 6 millions in concentration camps by the Nazis was not a human rights improvement, PRC's "human rights hostage" game should not be rewarded.
We are particularly concerned by the outrageous treatment of the practitioners of Falun Gong, who simply exercise rights declared in the UDHR. The confirmed deaths as a result of this persecution have climbed to over 1,600, with countless disappeared others still unaccounted for. This number alone does not illustrate the severity of the violation. Different and worse than the crimes by the Nazis, Stalin, or the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur, where physical elimination itself was the goal, the torture and killing in PRC's persecution of Falun Gong is a means. The goal is a spiritual murder - forcing people to choose between losing their lives and renouncing their core beliefs. The persecution of early Christians two thousand years ago is another example of such a crime.
No crime is worse than such crimes against conscience, because conscience is the very essence of humanity. Everything else, even our "inalienable rights," can be forcibly taken away. The alteration of our conscience, no matter how small, must be consented to from within. Conscience, thus, defines human nature, and the right to conscience is a human being's most fundamental right.
Falun Gong, Christians, Tibetans, Uighurs, and numerous other persecuted groups are not the only victims of the PRC's crimes against conscience. It is no secret that many in this institution fear to criticize the PRC. The PRC's tactic is unsophisticated: "I will not do business with you unless you cooperate." This is an extension of the crime against conscience, coercing people to choose between conscience and financial gains.
The most recent case of bowing to the PRC's pressure in exchange for financial rewards is France's Eutelsat, who decided to stop transmitting the signal of an independent, Chinese-language broadcaster NTDTV to Asia and China. UNA-San Diego joins Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists, and 62 European MPs to condemn Eutelsat's craven sacrifice of principles, and we encourage the entire UN community to do the same. A "business decision" is no defense for assisting human rights abuses, just as "following orders" is never grounds for impunity.
United Nations Association - San Diego reiterates its strong support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rights of the Child declared in many United Nations declarations, resolutions and treaties.
In this context, we ask the independent expert on the study of violence against children to pay a close attention to the plight of children in China. The People's Republic of China, in its reply to the questionnaires to governments, and its statement in this item, has enlisted many laws and rules it has established to safeguard the Rights of the Child. Laws and rules, however, do not come alive and apply themselves on their own. When law enforcement is instructed to ignore and violate these laws and rules, they became only the masks and a defense for the PRC to deflect international criticisms, rather than genuine move towards rule of law.
The PRC's outrageous treatment of children of Falun Gong practitioners is a particularly shocking example. The violent persecution against tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners has gone on for five years, breaking apart millions of families by police killings, abductions, arbitrary detentions, and enslavement in forced labor camps, and causing countless children to lose their parents, in many cases both of them.
The Chinese police do not stop there, however. With the instruction from the central government stating that "No measure is too excessive against Falun Gong," children have become direct targets of police violence. Our information indicates at least five children, as young as 8-months-old, have died from police mistreatment, dozens have been incarcerated, tortured, or subjected to forced labor, and hundreds have been expelled from schools. Quite a few such cases have been reported to the Commission by the Special Rapporteurs of various thematic mandates. In particular, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the Special Rapporteur on torture have sent a joint urgent appeal to the PRC on June 10, 2004, concerning a four-year-old girl whose parents are Falun Gong practitioners. This girl was abducted by the police on January 1, 2004, and her whereabouts are still unknown at this time.
UNA - San Diego strongly protests the continued violation of the letter and spirit of UDHR by PRC. We urge the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights to act within its power to take action in this grave situation, including assigning a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in China.
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